International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 662–671 | Cite as

Dieting Increases the Likelihood of Subsequent Obesity and BMI Gain: Results from a Prospective Study of an Australian National Sample

  • Mohammad Siahpush
  • Melissa Tibbits
  • Raees A. Shaikh
  • Gopal K. Singh
  • Asia Sikora Kessler
  • Terry T.-K. Huang



Diet is a major determinant of obesity; however, findings from the studies examining how dieting to lose weight affects weight gain have been inconclusive.


Our aim was to examine the longitudinal association of frequency of dieting for weight loss with (a) obesity status and (b) body mass index (BMI) change.


We used data from Waves 9 (2009) and 10 (2010) of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Binominal logistic regression estimated the association of frequency of dieting in 2009 on probability of obesity in 2010. Multinomial logistic regression estimated the association of frequency of dieting in 2009 on the probability of BMI gain versus BMI maintenance and BMI loss between 2009 and 2010. The analysis sample size was 8824.


Compared to those who were never on a diet in the previous year, the odds of obesity were 1.9, 2.9, and 3.2 times higher among those who were on a diet once, more than once, and always, respectively. Similarly, the odds of BMI gain versus BMI maintenance and also versus BMI loss were higher among those who dieted than those who did not.


Dieting to lose weight can contribute to the risk of future obesity and weight gain. Losing weight requires a commitment to change one’s lifestyle and a sustained effort to maintain a healthy diet and engage in physical activity.


Dieting Obesity Weight gain Body mass index Weight loss Weight change 



This paper uses unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The HILDA Project was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (Melbourne Institute). The findings and views reported in this paper, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to either FaHCSIA or the Melbourne Institute. We received no support in the form of grants, equipment, or drugs for this study.

Conflict of Interest

Mohammad Siahpush, Melissa Tibbits, Raees A. Shaikh, Gopal K. Singh, Asia Sikora Kessler and Terry T-K Huang have no conflict of interest to declare.

Financial Disclosure

This work was not funded by any grants, sponsorships, and financial or material source of support. Authors have no financial disclosures.

Human Subject Research

All the authors declare that they conformed to the Helsinki Declaration concerning human rights and informed consent, and that they followed correct procedures concerning treatment of humans and animals in research. However, as we utilized publicly available de-identified secondary data, we did not deem it necessary to seek approval from the Institutional Review Board.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Siahpush
    • 1
  • Melissa Tibbits
    • 2
  • Raees A. Shaikh
    • 2
  • Gopal K. Singh
    • 3
  • Asia Sikora Kessler
    • 2
  • Terry T.-K. Huang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  3. 3.US Department of Health and Human ServicesRockvilleUSA

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